Today I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Reece Daniel. Reece is an engineer and a writer finishing up his first novel. I know Reece for a few years but haven’t heard about the story he shares with us until a couple of weeks ago. He is a proud son of a wonderful strong mother, and he tells us her story in an elegant and touching way.
By Reece Daniel
In the picture, my mom and my grandmother are standing knee-deep in the waters of some beach in the Bahamas – shoreline in the background. The picture was taken while we were on a cruise when I was around 4-5 years old. My mom, standing on the left, must have been around my age now, and was wearing a one-piece dark bathing suit. My grandmother, who must have been around my mom’s age now, was wearing a two-piece. They both had modest, Mona Lisa half-smiles.
My mom recently gifted this picture to my grandmother in the form of a Christmas ornament. The ornament is a little scale-size TV set with the picture inserted where the screen would normally be so that it gives the impression that you’re watching a boring show about women on the beach in the mid-eighties.
The first time that I recall seeing this picture was during the unveiling of the ornament a few Christmases back. I don’t know if there was a backstory to the ornament or if it was just a random picture inserted into a random ornament picture frame. I doubt that this is the case, though; my mother lives for Christmas and the thought of her preparing any gift in haste is wholly inconsistent with the fanaticism with which she approaches the holidays.
At the time of the picture, my mom had recently gone through a divorce and, for all I know, the cruise could have been planned for the sole purpose of lifting her spirits. She had just been betrayed by her husband of ten years and thrown back into the world as a single mother on an elementary school teacher’s salary. The outlook was not hopeful.
I think about that half-smile on her face. It’s the smile of someone who is trying to let themselves enjoy something while simultaneously making a focused effort to avoid thinking about the future that is waiting for them; the hard-times that will come. Wondering if she will be up to the task of raising my sister and I. This in mind, it is admirable that she was able to muster up any sort of smile at all.
What could I say to her then? What words of wisdom from the future could I offer to her to cause her to contract her cheek muscles a little bit more? Would I tell her that there is nothing to worry about? That she will survive? Would it comfort her to know that she would raise two level-headed, college-educated, independent children? That she would go on to navigate the intimidating world of motherhood with such grace and such sincerity that even her flaws were perfect. That her son, this little blond kid with a bowl cut bobbing around the island, would turn out alright. That he would come to view his life as a living sacrifice; an homage to her maternity?
In fact, I would say nothing of the sort. In fact, I would say nothing. Time only moves in the forward direction for a reason and perfection is not meant to be improved upon. We only have the future that is waiting for us now. A future I enter with my head held high, as Christi’s son.
Reece Daniel is a writer and sort-of blogger based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. Originally from Georgia, Mr. Daniel moved up north at the urging of his family and his doctors, who both agreed that his addiction to Waffle House had become a serious problem. Since migrating to New England, he has kept himself busy by working on batteries during the day, drinking wine in the evening, and writing fiction at night. Reece is currently working on his debut novel, which he hopes to finish one month ago. In an attempt to find something productive to do with all of his free time, he decided to start a blog where he releases a new short story every week. Join him at www.reecedaniel.com every Friday for Fresh Story Friday to get your share of weekly fiction.
Reece does social media, but it’s mostly videos of his dog, wine reviews, battery article retweets, and an occasional update about writing stuff. There are a couple of links below. They all lead you to where you want to go.